Donald Trump today said sacked White House chief strategist Steve Bannon "cried" when he fired him and begged for his job, reacting to claims in a new book about the US president that he has dismissed as being "full of lies".
Trump said this in a tweet while ridiculing a new book in which Bannon is extensively quoted as being highly critical of him and his family, even going to the extent of claiming that the president was not interested in winning the presidential election and that first lady Melania wept after the election result because she did not want Trump to win.
The White House has described the book titled 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' as being full of "misinformation". The book written by Michael Wolff hit bookstores yesterday, days ahead of its scheduled release after Trump's attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Bannon and initiated a move to prevent its publication.
"Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!" Trump tweeted.
In the last few days, many of the top supporters and funders of Bannon have deserted him after Trump in a strongly worded statement said that Bannon had "lost his mind" and that he had nothing to do with his presidency.
In an interview to National Public Radio, Bannon stood by the content of his book and his criticism of the president.
"When you write a book like this, people regret what they said to me. What they say to any reporter who they relax with and they forget who they're talking to. I have sympathy for that and I think the natural response is to say 'oh my god I didn't say it'. But I will tell you, they said it," he said.
Contrary to White House statements, Wolff claims that he had unhindered access to the White House and that his book is based on more than 200 interviews.
"I think the two fundamental issues were that Donald Trump doesn't read anything," he said when asked on what White House staff learned about Trump's personality.
"Let me accent that — anything. Nothing. If you're working for the President of the United States, that's an odd position because how do you get information to him? That's already a major hurdle. But then there's the second hurdle that not only does he not read, he doesn't listen," he said.
"So it becomes from day one, the crisis of the presidency: you can't tell him anything. So on the first day of the presidency, when he announces that the inaugural crowds were three or four or five times larger than they actually were, you couldn't say to him 'That's not true! You shouldn't have said it from the beginning, but now we have to fix it'. He wouldn't read it and you couldn't tell him because he won't listen to you. It is entirely his reality," Wolff said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is one among top administration officials to have spent the most time with Wolff, however ridiculed any negative impression about Trump's mental health.
"I've never questioned his mental fitness. I have no reason to question his mental fitness," Tillerson told CNN when asked about the contents of the book.